“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1).
One of the greatest drawbacks to the life of prayer is that the answer does not come as speedily as we expect. We are discouraged but the thought, “Perhaps I do not pray correctly,” and so we do not persevere in prayer. This was a lesson that our Lord taught often and urgently. If we look further into the matter, we can see there may be a reason for the delay and that waiting may bring blessing to our souls. Remember Daniel, who waited twenty-one days for the answer to his prayer (Daniel 10:1-15). When we pray, our desire must grow deeper and stronger, and we must ask with our whole hearts. God puts us into the school of persevering prayer so that our weak faith may be strengthened. Believe that there is great blessing in the delayed answer to prayer. Above all, God wants to draw us into closer fellowship with Himself. When our prayers are not answered, we learn to realize that the fellowship, nearness, and love of God are more to us than the answers to our petitions, and we continue in prayer.
What a blessing Jacob received through the delay of the answer to his prayer! He saw God face-to-face, and as a prince he had power with God and prevailed (Genesis 32:38). Do not be impatient or discouraged if the answer does not come. Rather, continue in prayer. You will find it an unspeakable blessing to do so. You may ask whether your prayer agrees with God’s will and His Word. You may inquire if it is in the right spirit and in the name of Christ. Keep on praying; you will learn that the delay in the answer to prayer is one of the most precious means of grace that God can bestow on you. You will also learn that those who have persevered in pleading God’s promises are those who have had the greatest power with God in prayer.
Adapted from Andrew Murray Devotional